This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol3", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
The Teme valley is probably the most beautiful part of the county of Worcester as well as one of the most fertile in England. It is roughly 20 miles in length and varies from a few hundred yards to a mile and more in width at the lower levels, with steep hills on each side rising to 500 and 800 ft. in places. In this valley are grown practically the whole of the Worcestershire Hops. Here also are grown large quantities of Apples of very good quality, as well as a proportion of Cherries, Pears, Plums, Currants, Gooseberries, and Raspberries, chiefly by farmers and Hop growers, and a large portion of the land is the freehold of the growers. On one small estate there are nearly 250 ac. of fruit; on one farm there are 150 ac, 80 ac. on another, and from 20 to 50 ac. on other farms. It is impossible to give more than an estimate of the area devoted to fruit, but from Tenbury to Worcester - where the Teme joins the Severn - it would hardly be safe to say there are less than 1500 ac, nearly one-half of which are owned by four growers.
The Apples are mainly standard trees on grass; some are on arable land, and a few are grown as half-standards and bushes. The owners are mainly men of brains and capital with up-to-date methods, and they promptly give trial to things that are new if they appear to possess merit of their own. Pruning and spraying receive special attention, and the trees are given care and attention generally.
Another fruit-growing district is that around Ombersley, a district on the east bank of the Severn. Here there are numerous plantations of Plums, Apples, Cherries, Gooseberries, Strawberries, Currants, and Raspberries, and probably about 1000 ac. of land may be accounted for in this way. The methods of cultivation are the same as generally practised elsewhere, and the varieties of fruit are the same.
Thus it will be seen that the total area of land in Worcestershire devoted to fruit culture is very great, the districts already mentioned accounting for about 19,000 ac. If to that be added' the smaller areas devoted to the same purpose and distributed all over the county, a total of about 24,000 ac. of fruit will represent the proportion contributed by Worcestershire to the food, wealth, and pleasure of the nation. [J U]